Vietnam ranked 121 out of the 187 countries and territories evaluated by the 2014 Human Development Report (HDR) presented in Hanoi Thursday by the UN Development Program (UNDP).
Local human development indicators continue to rise, but the pace has slowed in recent years. In Vietnam, the index's average annual growth rate slowed to just 0.96 percent in recent years from 1.7 percent in the years before 2000.
The Human Development Index composites index measuring average achievement in 3 basic dimensions of human development – a long healthy life (life expectancy at birth), knowledge (mean years of schooling and expected years of schooling) and decent standard of living (gross national income per capita).
Nearly half of all workers, or more than 1.5 billion people, worldwide, work in informal employment. In Vietnam, around 70 percent of workers belong to the informal sector, showing evidence that Vietnam's labour market is becoming even less formalized as it climbs out of its economic crisis post-crisis, according to the report.
Speaking at the report launch in Hanoi, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Pratibha Mehta highlighted the importance of vulnerability for Vietnam, a newly emergent middle-income country with a globally integrated economy; exposed to climatic change; and located in a politically charged region.
“For Vietnam, the vulnerability of the many to shocks should now rank alongside poverty reduction as a primary policy challenge,” said Mehta.
Mehta suggested policy areas on the management and reduction of human vulnerability in Vietnam to ensure continued progress in human development. They include human capital development and the need for labour market reforms; the need for comprehensive social assistance to guarantee a minimum living standard; and the importance of disaster preparedness.
The supporting research found that the current social assistance system only reaches 50 percent of the poor, and although the total level of support is respectable, spending on transfers to the poor in Vietnam compares poorly with other middle income countries, said Mehta.